ideas

mystery

I figured I’d continue on the Star Wars trend (ha, I almost wrote trek) from last week.

Most people over the age of 7 agree the Star Wars prequels (episodes 1-3) are not great. I suppose they have some redeemable qualities (if you look really hard) but I found most of the content to be either forgettable or unforgettably bad. Sorry, George. 

One of those memorably bad decisions has to do with the introduction of “midi-chlorians.” Apparently, they’re microscopic life forms that facilitate The Force, or something like that. Anyways, midi-chlorians brought The Force down quite a few notches on the coolness scale. 

But why are they so bad? Don’t we love getting a scientific explanation for things we don’t understand? Sometimes, yes. But not always. Here’s the big problem: they explain away the mystery.

Without mystery, creativity dies a slow, boring death.

More recently, Lucas announced his original plans for the later trilogy in the main storyline (ep7-9)

“[The next three Star Wars films] were going to get into a microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force… If I’d held onto the company I could have done it, and then it would have been done. Of course, a lot of the fans would have hated it, just like they did Phantom Menace and everything, but at least the whole story from beginning to end would be told.”  

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a terrible idea to me, for the very same reason. It takes everything people love about Star Wars, throws it out the window and instead dives into a detailed explanation of how The Force works. It mercilessly slaughters the mystery.

Without mystery, creativity becomes quite dull. Rather than surprising and exciting, it morphs into a prison of predictable pattern. It ceases to be new and therefore ceases to be creative.

Magic tricks are fascinating, but once the trick is revealed, that sense of awe and wonder is lost—it becomes a rational, ordinary thing.

As a writing teacher often reminded the class: RUE, resist the urge to explain. A story is much more interesting when it unfolds slowly. Readers enjoy the excitement of each reveal that comes with a new plot point, rather than being given all the juicy secrets in chapter one.

There is something to be said about not knowing. True, not knowing can drive us crazy sometimes. In our information overloaded world, we want to know everything. But there are times when knowing can be even worse than not knowing. How many times have you discovered something you were curious about only to look back and realize you would have been better off remaining in the dark?

Take the TV series, Lost, for example. When the writers tried to explain all that weird stuff happening on the island (smoke monsters and polar bears anyone?) during the last season, and especially the last episode, it felt like they were taking all the magic they had created and dumping it down the toilet.

Sure, it’s good to be well-informed and prepared rather than confused and befuddled, but there are times when a state of confusion can lead to greater innovations. Confusion forces you to question what you know, to look for a solution that isn’t obvious.

So, I say, don’t be afraid of the mysterious and strange, they might open a new window and allow a light of inspiration to shine on that creative mind of yours—one which is completely (and blessedly) devoid of midi-chlorians.

inspiration

Hi folks, welcome back! While taking a week off of posting, I've gone and made a few changes to the site. You can read more about them in the news section of the home page. Now we're back in business and it's time to talk a little about inspiration. So fasten your safety belts and make sure your valuables are securely stowed, inspiration here we come! 

Show me a creative and I’ll show you someone inspired (to be clear, I’m pointing at the exact same person).

When you get the ball rolling, the wheels turning and the pipe piping on your creativity, you’re bound to have a head full o’ ideas. Too many, perhaps. But when you’re just getting started, ideas can be a bit harder to come by. Hey, where do ideas come from anyway? I mean, besides your mind, silly.

I declare to you a great many ideas come from being inspired (call it my declaration of inspiration). Have you noticed the more outside sources of inspiration there is in your life, the more creative ideas of your own come popping up out of the woodwork like a bad case of termites? Well, I have (and someone call pest control on those buggers)!

If you’re on the hunt for a good idea, start checking into some sources of inspiration. They don’t necessarily need to be from the same place either. Expand your horizons: go to a concert, go eat some ethnic food outside your typical cuisine, go on a hike, read a graphic novel, try paddle boarding, do some people-watching at the park and bet someone in a bottle-cap race through the canals. Me? Nope, never done that last one before. Maybe once, but it was entirely within city ordinance, I swear, Officer.

Ok, before you get too out of hand, maybe start with what you know. Try chatting with an expert in your field of interest. Look for examples from your favorite creative influences. But don’t be afraid to branch out a little. You’d be surprised what crazy connections your brain makes when you let it get inspired.

Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.”

You know what I say? Don’t sweat it, just get out there, open your mind to a wold of possibilities and get inspired.

 

Creatively yours,
A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, what are some of your favorite sources of inspiration? Let us know in the comments below.